Is Google siding with Japan’s claims at the expense of China? Search for “Diaoyutai” or the Chinese character equivalent, “钓鱼台群岛,” you’ll not be able to find the disputed islands. Circled in red below is where a pin should be placed. Nothing shows up.
Instead, if you search for “Senkaku-shoto,” Google Maps takes you to the disputed islands. They are labeled with Japanese names. Same effect if you explore that part of the world without the keyword search. See snapshot below:
These search results and screen snapshots are as of September 25, 2010.
Within Google, it is clear the company is “anti-China.” A neutral way to handle the labeling of these islands is simply to offer the Chinese names as well. Also, to indicate the territory is disputed between China and Japan. Microsoft’s mapping service actually has a disclaimer indicating the area is in dispute.
Google is in the process of applying to offer mapping services in China. It’d be bizarre if the Chinese regulatory bodies do not require Google Maps to first make its information politically neutral across the globe. In this same vein, the Chinese government should make this a requirement for all corporations doing business within China.
This simple truth about Google’s mapping service should be spread far and wide within China. Some may argue the title of this article has gone too far. Google hasn’t come out and take such a strong position. But the undeniable truth is that Google indeed has taken such a position on the politics behind how the islands are labeled.